Tuesday, June 21, 2011

As Obama "De-Surges" Afghanistan, Bombings Kill Dozens across Iraq

Both the NYT and WaPo - with the Post offering much more comprehensive coverage - report on bombings across Iraq today, with as many as 27 killed in the southern city of Diwaniyah, but others killed in Baghdad and two cars packed with explosives intercepted in Anbar province, in the western part of the country.  These, on the heels of an attack last week in the north, in Baquba.

This is also the second deadliest month since 2009 for US soldiers, with nine killed in less than 3 weeks.

Michael Schmidt's report in the NY Times includes the now-boilerplate reminder that "Although violence has decreased significantly in Iraq in recent years . . ." and the BBC notes, likewise "Violence in Iraq has fallen sharply from its peak in 2006, although deadly bombings and shootings still occur on a daily basis."

- as if to assure us that's Iraq's gonna be OK, when the fact of the matter is that Iraq is seeing a level of consistent, sustained political violence that would be characterized as near catastrophic anywhere in the "West."  Is it just me, or does anyone else read a subtle racism here - that, after all, it's only Arabs - and Muslims, at that - being killed.  (Gee, aren't those people prone to violence anyway?  Why can't they just get along?)

As the WaPo notes, "al-Qaeda in Iraq" groups are suspected as the perpetrators of these bombings.  And there's concern for the Shii pilgrims who will be partaking very soon in the upcoming celebrations that focus on the al-Kadhimiya mosque in Baghdad:

Even as security officials respond to the attacks and attempted violence, Baghdad is preparing for an annual pilgrimage next week when hundreds of thousands of Shiites will walk to a shrine where a revered holy figure is buried.

The pilgrims, who walk from Adhamiyah across a bridge spanning the Tigris River into Kadhimiyah, have been targeted in recent years by Sunni terrorists. Last year, more than 43 people were killed in separate attacks on the pilgrims.

It's obvious that Iraq's security forces aren't up to the task of preventing the kind of violence that we've been seeing for months now.

Mr. Obama is about to announce the withdrawal of many of the "Surge" troops from Afghanistan.   According to McClatchy, all 33,000 of the 2010 Surge troops will be out by end of 2012.  According to Richard Cohen at WaPo, that's none too soon for what was never a good idea; and besides, says he, the world needs America, because "America remains the sole nation capable of playing the role of adult." {yes, he really wrote that].

McCain/Lieberman/Graham will howl, rend their garments, and gnash their teeth; but they will lose.  But don't be surprised if, as Iraq falls apart, they demand that troops withdrawn from Afghanistan be diverted there.  They'll raise the now tattered banner of American honor - which they, as always, will stand ready to defend, to the last American soldier.

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